After five years as your baby, it’s finally happened: the first day of kindergarten.
The date is circled in green on the calendar. The new backpack and lunchbox sit shiny and bright on the counter. You’ve received a welcome letter from the school. You’ve toured the classroom and imagined your baby sitting in that big room with its brightly coloured displays. You child is, in turn, excited and nervous. He doesn’t know what to expect. He doesn’t realise that he’s starting what will become a twenty or more year journey of education. But you do.
You sit there, staring at the school supplies – sharpened pencils, unblemished notebooks, glossy crayons – and wonder, what happened to you baby? This thought then turns to sniffles as you remember bringing him home in his tiny outfit. It turns to wails as you remember his first steps, his first words. As you reach for the bottle of wine sitting next to you, you wish that there was a guide to surviving the first day of kindergarten.
Lucky for you, there is.
1. Kleenex: Skip Target and head straight for Costco. Not only will you want to donate a few boxes to your child’s classroom, but you will need at least three boxes for the night before school and two for the morning of. Then, you’ll need another three for that moment when you have to walk away.
2. Prepare a special breakfast. Something that will help your child remember that mummy is at home waiting with the rest of the box of donuts. Then try not to eat the entire box while he’s at school.
3. Take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Don’t feel bad that you’ve snapped two memory cards full and your husband has been shooting non-stop video since the moment your child woke up. This is a good thing.
4. Call a veteran mummy. Most likely you have friends who are sending their third or fourth child off to school. They’ll help you realise it’s a day to celebrate. In fact, they’ll most likely descend upon your house with a bottle of champagne and a smile that brighter than you’ve seen all summer.
5. Write a note for your child and then put it in his baby book. Write another note, simpler and less tear-stained and stick it in his lunch box.
And above all else remember this: The first day of school is another in a long string of firsts. Your child is on the adventure of a lifetime and you? Well, give yourself a few days and you’ll start to wonder why all day kindergarten went out of vogue.
At least, that’s what they tell me. Now excuse me. I need to go grab another box of tissues.